Statement by Ângelo Alves, Member of the Political Commission of the Central Committee, Press Conference

20 years after, freeing the Country from the submission to the Euro, affirming national sovereignty

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The Euro has completed 20 years of existence. The official proclamations of the European Union repeat mechanically, dogmatically and baselessly, the idea of 'success'. A serious and responsible review of the Euro contradicts this propaganda and agrees with all those who, like PCP, from the beginning, denounced its nature and objectives, and alerted towards the consequences of joining the Euro.

As PCP denounced more than 20 years ago, the Euro revealed itself an instrument contrary to the national interests, engineered to match the economic reality and interests of the directory of powers, in particular Germany, and conceived according to its ambitions of political and economic domination within the framework of the European Union.

Clearly, the Euro did not lead to economic convergence nor social cohesion. On the contrary, it was one of the main causes of growing social inequalities and asymmetries in the development of the European Union. This reality contradicts the theses that insist upon the stability and durability of the Economic and Monetary Union, and demonstrates that the justifications for further steps towards its deepening are unjustified.

The Euro was nor the 'shield' nor the astonishing 'solution' for the economic crises of capitalism. On the contrary. The expropriation of sovereign economic and monetary instruments of States, such as Portugal, exposed us to processes of extortion —as verified with the Pact of Aggression imposed on Portugal by the troikas— and unprotected us from a possible new peak due its debt, degradation of its productive sectors, and persistent speculative dynamics.

Measures such low interests rates or the liquidity injected by the ECB did not translate in more investments and economic growth. The public debts remain at unsustainable levels, creating enormous obstacles to the financing of States and public investment, as clearly occurs in Portugal. The budgetary stimuli are hindered or even impeded by the ironclad constraints and rules of the Euro and Economic and Monetary Union.

The Euro has not brought solutions; rather it has caused problems and deepened existing problems, and is used, in or out of the context of crisis, to further the concentration of economic and political power, and deepen the capitalist integration of the European Union. Within the framework of the Euro, and in name of abiding by its criteria, the privatization and concentration of businesses and strategic sectors accelerated and deepened; social and labor rights were attacked; public services and social functions of the State are harshly assaulted.

After 20 years, we can state and sustain that PCP was right when we alerted to the consequences of introducing the Euro in Portugal. The image of an iron pan against a clay pan was completely correct.

It was in the context of the Euro that Portugal witness, during the last two decades, with variations that do not change the overall trend: a long period of economic stagnation and recession (average annual growth of GDP lower than 1%); explosion of its public debt with values that rose from about 60% of GDP to the present 122%; growth in unemployment, today with about 14% unemployment, compared with 6.9% before joining; the worsening of inequalities in income distribution, with the wage share in the national income falling from 39.3% to 35.5%; increase in labor precariousness; the defiling of the productive sector, expressed clearly in the fact that today the primary and secondary sectors represent less than a fourth of the GDP; and the bloodletting of capital out of the country, by the exit of profits and dividends (mostly to European Union countries), already surpassing by 68% the transfer of community funds into our Country.

With the Euro, Portugal saw its structural deficits worsened —from the productive, energetic and food deficits, to the science and technology deficit and the new reality of a demography marked by the aging and decline of the national population. But mostly Portugal lost instruments of budgetary, monetary and exchange sovereignty. All its macroeconomic policy became subordinated not to national interests, but the rules of the Euro, with visible consequences in the functions of the State, public investment, the productive sector, the ability of our exports, in wage and labor policy. The Euro worked and works as a straightjacket from which the Country needs to be freed.

As we foresaw, Portugal lost and the Portuguese workers and people lost. PCP was right when we denounced, twenty years ago, that the transfer to the supranational level of important instruments of State intervention in the economy would transform wages, employment, public expenditure in health, education and Social Security, and the tax burden into adjustment variables.

The recent evolution during the new stage of national political life doesn't allow theorizations on the compatibility between sovereign development and social progress with the rules and impositions of the Euro and European Union. On the contrary. One the one hand, the restitutions of incomes and rights —achievements that should be valued— were the object of criticism and even attempts to block by the European Union. On the other hand, the rules and impositions of the Euro and European Union were used as justifications to not go further along that path and answer the problems the Country is still facing.

That is, a policy that actually breaks with decades of economic stagnation, social recession, asphyxiation of public services and loss of instruments fundamental for the development of the Country will inevitable confront itself with the rules of the European Union and the Euro.

Twenty years after the creation of the Euro, the issue is not maintaining Portugal shackled to the Euro and deepening the Economic and Monetary Union —which will only mean worsening the problems and dynamics of exploitation and divergence—, but rather the liberation from the constraints, rules, pacts and treaties that have proven to be contrary to the national interests, and the Portuguese workers and people.

Portugal needs a sovereign monetary policy, adequate for the economic reality and potential of the Country. Portugal needs a sovereign monetary, financial, exchange and budgetary management, adjusted to the national reality that foments production, employment and growth. Portugal needs an effect national central bank that supports its project of development, freeing it from dependence on the ECB and financial markets, ensuring the financing of the State free from the political conditions associated with the European Union. Portugal needs to abandon the Growth and Stability Pact and all its derivatives: the Budgetary Treaty, Economic Governance and the European Semester.

PCP refuses the theory that there is no other path for Portugal except the submission to a policy and project of domination contrary to national interests. Freeing the country from the submission to the Euro, option that claims the involvement of the Portuguese people, is a demanding and complex path, but the only one that avoids the perpetuation, over the next decades, of economic stagnation, the deepening of divergence from the other countries, the impoverishment of the population and worsening exploitation of workers. For PCP, those committed to recovering our monetary sovereignty are not irresponsible, but rather those who refuse to study and prepare for that objective. Twenty years after joining the Common Currency, the experiment is done: the Euro does not serve Portugal, the Euro does not serve the peoples of Europe.

The liberation from the submission to the Euro is possible and viable, and a required condition towards the sovereign development of the Country, one of the central pillars of a patriotic and left-wing policy that PCP proposes to the Portuguese people, an element of struggle and proposal for another project of cooperation in Europe among sovereign States, equal in rights, based on solidarity, sovial convergence, mutually advantageous relations and peace.

  • Economia e Aparelho Produtivo
  • União Europeia
  • Central